North Walsham punished for below-par home performance

Hal Riley touches down for North Walsham against Old Priorians - but it wasn't enough to prevent a s

Hal Riley touches down for North Walsham against Old Priorians - but it wasn't enough to prevent a surpruise home defeat. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

For fifth-placed North Walsham a home defeat against opponents with one previous away win was not in the script but they could have no complaints following a laboured performance.

Priorians deserved their victory. Arriving at Scottow on the back of improving results what they lacked in creativity they compensated for with outstanding defence and good execution of the basics.

Having gone 17-7 down after 50 minutes the Vikings never really looked like winning, only getting to within touching distance with five minutes left.

It was clear from the opening 10 minutes that a high scoring match was unlikely, with play restricted to the middle 30 metres and defences on top.

Priorians' ball retention was better however and when they got a scoring opportunity in the 20th minute they took it, Simon March spotting a blindside gap and racing over from 40 metres. Ross McIntosh converted.

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Their lead lasted barely five minutes, the Vikings producing a textbook try. Jake Duffield's long penalty kick gave them a five metre lineout which they won and, after a patient build-up, Hal Riley powered over from a well timed angled run, Lee Thomson converting.

Perversely this score seemed to give confidence to the visitors who attacked for much of the rest of the half as the home side continued making basic errors but failed to add to their score.

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Three minutes into the second half Priorians went ahead. The Vikings conceded a penalty in a dangerous position, the visitors won their five metre lineout, the drive was repelled but a missed tackle gave Jake Dever the opportunity to score and McIntosh converted. He then extended their lead with a 45-metre penalty.

With James Knight prominent the hosts then started to go forward but they were unconvincing, never building consistent pressure. Priorians held firm until, with five to go, Lachlan Brown-Bates barrelled over for a converted try. Two minutes from time the Vikings were awarded a penalty on the edge of Thomson's range and chose to go for the corner but after a knock-on nothing came of it.

Assistant coach Johnny Marsters named Will Swart Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match for his 'incredible work rate'.

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